Hanging on and not letting go until the bars bend, Tang San saves Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang. However, Tang San burns his Blue Silver Plant and faces his Martial Soul being completely damaged. There is still a chance for Tang San’s Blue Silver Plant to heal with obtaining a Second Ring by finding a suitable plant-type Soul Beast to make up for his damaged Martial Soul. However, with Tang San having only recently obtained his first Soul Ring and haven’t yet had enough time to refine and accumulate Soul Power to obtain the second Soul Ring, attempting to obtain a second Soul Ring could result in failure. Tang San is given a 10% success rate, but it is still a chance for Tang San to heal his damaged Martial Soul.
Tang San’s immediate concern isn’t his Blue Silver Plant, but his father. After breaking Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang out of the cage, Xiao Chen Yu had threatened to go to Saint of Soul Village to go after Tang Hao. But it’s not Xiao Chen Yu who ends up being a threat to the safety of Tang Hao. The threat ends up coming from the Soul Honour who had set up the cage, Officer Ling Feng (Wang Xin).
While Tang San, Yu Xiao Gang and Xiao Wu rush to Saint of Soul Village to take Tang Hao with them along their journey, Wang Sheng had gone and killed Xiao Chen Yu for lying about letting him and his father go when he had always planned to kill them. With no one conscious to see Wang Sheng take a sword to Xiao Chen Yu’s neck (everyone had been knocked unconscious by a dizzying cloud of smoke Yu Xiao Gang had Luo San Pao expel before leaving), Tang San is made to take the blame. Liu Long had told Ling Feng that Tang San was responsible for what happened at the Practice Court. Xiao Wu is also mentioned as well as Yu Xiao Gang.
Told that Tang San is from Saint of Soul Village when Ling Feng asks Liu Long about Tang San’s whereabouts, it sees Ling Feng order Liu Long and the guards to head there to kill Tang San, Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang on the spot. He wants their bodies brought back to the Governor to handle however he likes. It surprises Liu Long to hear what he describes as quite a harsh order, but he is made to fall into line with a threat to kill Liu Long later if the order is further questioned.
When Tang San arrives back home, his father isn’t there and hasn’t been there for a while judging from the good layer of dust on the furniture in Tang Hao’s room. It’s revealed later that the reason his father wasn’t there is because he’s been trailing Tang San since his mission to get his first Soul Ring at Soul Hunting Forest. He might also have been present at the Practice Court where Tang San burned his Blue Silver Plant. Whether Tang Hao saw Wang Sheng kill Xiao Chen Yu or not, is unclear. However, Tang Hao reports the news that Xiao Chen Yu’s dead to Tang San and the others when he shows himself to them. Because of this development, Tang Hao tells them to run far away from Saint of Soul Village.
Tang Hao seems to know Tang San didn’t kill anyone when Tang San tells him that they only punched him several times (this was Yu Xiao Gang’s doing after Yu Xiao Gang threatened to go after Tang Hao). Whatever the fact of the situation is it didn’t matter because as Tang Hao responds to his son: “They will insist you killed him.” They couldn’t find the murderer and will want him, Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang to pay for it.
Hearing this, Tang San makes plans to go to the Village Head and have the Village Head deliver him to the Governor’s Office. His hope is that he’d be able to disassociate himself and this matter from Saint of Soul Village, from his father, Xiao Wu and Yu Xiao Gang, and take full responsibility himself. Xiao Wu won’t let Tang San do such a thing, though, as she refuses to leave him when he tells her his intentions.
Giving Xiao Wu reasons why she shouldn’t join him, Tang San firstly tells her he won’t be able to protect her because he doesn’t have enough strength. This has Xiao Wu tell him she has the ability to protect him, too. Tang San then tells her that Saint of Soul Village has nothing to do with her. Xiao Wu tells him he has something to do with him, though. It sees Tang San unable to continue finding what Xiao Wu calls excuses to stop Xiao Wu going with him. She tells him that he won’t be able to ever get rid of her. This time they will work together because in this way they will have a higher chance of defeating them and stop them from troubling them again.
Tang San submits then. The Village Head is hesitant when Tang San makes this request to bound their wrists and hand them over to the Governor’s Office. However, he does as requested in the end as Tang San and Xiao Wu are each seen bounded by the hands a short distance from Tang San’s home ready for Ling Feng to arrest.
Tang San and Xiao Wu isn’t enough to pay for the death of Xiao Chen Yu, though. When Ling Feng arrives, he has guards surround Tang San, Xiao Wu and the Village Head before making their way towards Tang San’s home to go after Tang Hao. Tang Hao is no longer at the home. He had since left for Nouding School. They only catch sight of Yu Xiao Gang walking past their gazes about to release a Plant Branch Soul Beast which would serve to attack Ling Feng and the guards before it serves to be Tang San’s Second Soul Ring.
While Tang San and Xiao Wu were off handing themselves in, Yu Xiao Gang was with Tang Hao who Yu Xiao Gang discovers knowing before discovering that Tang San’s late mother had left a Plant Branch Soul Beast for Tang San’s second Soul Ring.
The exact identity of Tang Hao isn’t revealed, but there appears to be a risk in discovering who Tang Hao is. Yu Xiao Gang’s recognition had Tang Hao appear to warn through a rhetorical question that discovering who he is could result in something happening to him. Who could put Yu Xiao Gang in danger for finding out who he is seems not to come from Tang Hao as he reveals and confirms his identity further with the materialisation of his Martial Soul—the Hao Tian Hammer. According to Yu Xiao Gang, this person he clearly now recognises is supposed to be dead.
Moving to reveal the Plant Branch Soul Beast, Tang Hao swings his Hao Tian Hammer at a thick slab in the flooring that’s made out of the very tough Meteorite. Underneath lies a dormant and rarely seen Haunted Vine. Tang Hao reveals that it is one of at least two Soul Beasts Tang San’s mother left Tang San for his advancement as a Soul Master. She had prepared a Soul Beast for Tang San’s first Soul Ring as well, but—as Tang Hao tells Yu Xiao Gang—the Thorn Apple Snake is more suitable which seem to validate Yu Xiao Gang’s great knowledge in Soul Masters whose Martial Soul is the Blue Silver Plant.
With the Meteorite slab cracking after a short time, Tang Hao reveals the dormant Plant Branch Soul Beast to be 600 years old, and as Yu Xiao Gang notes himself, can be used to restore Tang San’s Blue Silver Plant and serve as Tang San’s Second Soul Ring. With the seal to the Haunted Vine broken, ready to be awakened, Tang Hao hopes to leave this matter of Tang San obtaining his Second Soul Ring as well as taking down Ling Feng to Yu Xiao Gang while Tang Hao makes his way towards Nouding School to settle the problem at its source.
Yu Xiao Gang seemed to want to run away when Tang Hao left it up to him to decide whether he’d stay around and help Tang San and Xiao Wu or leave them to fend for themselves. With Yu Xiao Gang having only two Soul Rings (as he reveals at the start of the episode), he couldn’t see himself being a match for someone like Ling Feng. His Second Soul Skill which makes everyone unconscious is a rather invincible skill, but it only works on anyone with two Soul Rings. To people like Ling Feng who is a Soul Honour with three Soul Rings, the attack doesn’t work.
Tang Hao is aware of all of this when he reveals his knowledge of Yu Xiao Gang’s family background in relation to the family’s Martial Soul as well as the true form of Luo San Pao: the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon is the Martial Soul of Yu Xiao Gang’s family and Luo San Pao is clearly the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon but it mutated the wrong way. Even though Tang Hao knows the strength of Yu Xiao Gang and therefore should know he won’t be able to defeat someone like Ling Feng who’s stronger than him, Tang Hao believes in one taking full responsibility for one’s actions so even if they fail and something happens to Tang San it is something they must bear themselves.
Yu Xiao Gang unable to bring himself to run away, he goes to awaken the Haunted Vine by pouring water down into the deep hole in the floor where the Haunted Vine lay dormant. Its awakening sees the earth shake for a short time before the Haunted Vine shoots through the roof and starts attacking the guards with its long, snaking branches. It takes them all out quickly with its parasitic ability: right after wrapping its branches around their bodies, it had infected them with thin vines internally, rendering them unconscious. It leaves Ling Feng and his First and Third Soul Skill—Electric Current Spike and Electric Ring Defense (respectively)—to fight off the vine.
As Ling Feng avoids and fends off the vine, Tang San and Xiao Wu is waved in by Yu Xiao Gang to firstly discuss defeating Ling Feng using the Haunted Vine before having Tang San take down the Haunted Vine and make it his Second Soul Ring.
With Tang San having the Blue Silver Plant as a Martial Soul, the Haunted Vine will see Tang San as a plant and therefore won’t attack him. Although Tang San’s Martial Soul is damaged, Yu Xiao Gang tells him that it’s not necessary for his Martial Soul to take form. He just needs to maintain his Soul Power and the Haunted Vine will think of Tang San as a plant. Then to defeat Ling Feng, all he needs to do is make the Haunted Vine coil around Ling Feng. He will then be infected by the vine and he will be defeated.
Understanding what he must do, Tang San goes out with his three nails. Using Purple Demon Eyes, he studies when Ling Feng’s electric currents appear and when they fade. Seeing this, Tang San throws his nails at Ling Feng as he twists sideways with his body full of electric currents.
The nails miss Ling Feng. Ling Feng now aware of Tang San’s presence, he targets Tang San with a vertical band of electric current. Tang San evades this with no problem. However, his attempt to approach Ling Feng on the right-hand side sees Tang San get hit and sent flying with a fresh release of electric current. It has Tang San almost hitting a chopping block with an axe embedded.
Fortunately, he is saved by Xiao Wu who comes flying in to catch him. Making an attempt to attack Ling Feng herself, Xiao Wu sets off the Sleeve Arrow Tang San gave her. It fails as the arrow misses Ling Feng.
Yu Xiao Gang enters next with his first Martial Soul skill of smoking the vicinity. This appears to be their original plan. As the smoke causes momentary confusion and adjustment in Ling Feng, Tang San moves to grab a plank of wood to block a second band of electric current which Ling Feng sends at Tang San after regaining control. As Ling Feng is focused on hitting Tang San with the electric current, Tang San uses his Controlling Crane Catching Dragon to command the Haunted Vine to wrap around Ling Feng. Although Ling Feng breaks out of the Haunted Vine’s hold moments later, the hold is long enough for the vine to infect Ling Feng and prevent him from using his Soul Skills further. Ling Feng weakened, Xiao Wu leaps in to take hold of Ling Feng’s neck with her feet to fling him into the hole in the roof where the Haunted Vine had shot up from.
With Ling Feng dealt with, Tang San attempts to kill the Haunted Vine and obtain his Second Soul Ring. It’s a task which Tang San achieves, but not without a lot of pain.
Killing the Haunted Vine looked to be the easier part of obtaining his Second Soul Ring. With Tang San’s daily chopping of firewood since childhood, making a strong swing at the vine’s thick root to beginning killing it was no problem. The hit had the vine wounded and bleeding gold sparks. It only needed one final strike with the Sleeve Arrow Xiao Wu lent him to have the Plant Branch Soul Beast release its energy, revealing the Soul Ring for Tang San to absorb.
The Haunted Vine does attempt to make a final attack behind Tang San as it dies, but fortunately for Tang San, Yu Xiao Gang appears to block the attack. It sees Yu Xiao Gang soon lose consciousness as he is flung against some furniture and rendered unconscious.
Meanwhile, Tang San has since collapsed to the floor, his right hand stretched out, sweat all over his face and his left clutching at his chest as intense pain coursed through him. Just as he struggles with the pain on the outside world, he is seen to struggle in the same way in the Blue Silver Plant realm inside. As the thin dark vines travel up his arm, through his body and up his neck, Tang San’s face clench in pain.
The flinching of Tang San’s face and the struggle visible through the flinching sees Xiao Wu try something which involved sending through a pink energy at his forehead which is seen as a pinkish-orange glow in the Blue Silver Plant realm inside Tang San. It appears to calm and sooth Tang San immediately. His face relaxes. The parasitic vines that was visible on the neck disappear, too. Shortly after, Tang San wakes. With Xiao Wu’s help, Tang San pulls through.
Tang San awake and Yu Xiao Gang regaining consciousness as well, they move to have Tang San release his Second Soul Ring before having him reveal his newly gained Second Soul Skill. With them now aware a living being must be used to test the Soul Skill, Xiao Wu offers herself up first. Yu Xiao Gang was injured so she figured it was best Tang San test it on her. Yu Xiao Gang tells Tang San to test the Soul Skill on him: since he’s infected by the Haunted Vine, Tang San could cure him of it.
Testing Tang San’s recovered Blue Silver Plant on Yu Xiao Gang, the vine coils around Yu Xiao Gang’s arm. After the main vine extends, a lattice of thinner vines cover the surface of Yu Xiao Gang’s arm. Tang San’s Martial Soul has inherited the parasitic abilities of Haunted Vine, but it doesn’t hurt Yu Xiao Gang. This appears to be because of Tang San’s First Soul Skill gained from the Thorn Apple Snake temporarily numbed the arm.
With Xiao Wu unable to see how a plant growing on the skin can be an effective attack against enemies, Yu Xiao Gang provides an example attack that is hard to guard against: Tang San could cover the enemy with Blue Silver Plant seeds which he can then use a weak poison to numb the skin to allow the seeds to grow without the enemy knowing, after which he can then proceed to bind them.
Tang San gets back his Martial Soul but loses his father as his father’s journey to Nuoding City to take care of the problem at its source sees him killing the Governor of Nouding (to people’s cheers). Fearing that meeting Tang San will cause him to suffer, he’s decided to leave Tang San in Yu Xiao Gang’s care after returning to Saint of Soul Village to tell Yu Xiao Gang this. But Tang Hao’s decision to leave goes beyond this incident.
Tang Hao is no normal blacksmith. Last episode, he revealed his Hao Tian Hammer which point to him being a Soul Master previously. This episode, he reveals that he is possibly intimidatingly powerful. A Nouding City citizen’s recount of the killing of the Governor told that Tang Hao had charged through all the Soul Masters around him, knocking them all out before using just one punch to kill the Governor.
Tang San had tried to stop his father from leaving after catching him out with a clever method. (Tang San had planted Blue Silver Plant seeds in the ground to notify him of anyone approaching his home. It was originally set to catch any potential attacks from the Governor in light of what happened at the Practice Court in Nouding School.) Tang San knelt down, apologised for leaving home, told his father he regretted going to school and promised not to ask any questions hoping that his father would stay with him. But he was told by his father there were matters he had to tend to, matters which Tang San can’t keep up with.
It has his father tell Tang San he is still too weak to handle these matters despite Tang San having two Soul Rings now. These matters, the secrets which relate to his family which his father mentions there being a lot of relate to too many powerful people. It seems it is because they relate to so many powerful people, Tang Hao can’t tell Tang San about them until his willpower and strength is more than powerful. It seemingly is because of this also that Tang Hao must leave him and won’t appear again until Tang San becomes strong enough—a time which Tang Hao hopes will come sooner rather than later.
Tang San had tried further to keep his father from leaving by telling him that he can become stronger by learning from him. If not learn from him then they can hide away together and he’ll take care of him forever (so in short turn back on becoming a Soul Master). But this had his father disapprove: since he’s decided to go on this path and become someone extraordinary (like being the strongest Soul Master), he should do this and use his own power to face the world in order to do it. Tang San telling his father he just wants to study and train under his father, Tang Hao tells him to follow and trust Yu Xiao Gang as he will guide him on a path that is suitable for him while Tang Hao himself must face his fate which he doesn’t elaborate on.
Tang Hao leaves Tang San calling after him, tears falling. Being a smart person, Tang San figures that he could ask Yu Xiao Gang about his father. With how his father came back to Saint of Soul Village to say goodbye just to Yu Xiao Gang but not Tang San as well, he figured that Yu Xiao Gang must know the identity of his father. However, hearing that Yu Xiao Gang had made a promise to his father to keep it a secret, Tang San respects the promise made. He will (as per the original promise he had with his father) personally ask about his father and family background once he is strong enough.
Training options for Tang San is looking slim at this point, though. Yu Xiao Gang notes only two options: Martial Soul Hall or one of the renowned Seven Clans on Douluo Continent. The reason Yu Xiao Gang maintains is that the Governor is looking for Tang San so most other schools were out of the question. (Yu Xiao Gang appears to be trying to avoid saying too much about Tang Hao by mentioning the death of the Governor of Nouding City as mentioning that the Governor of Nouding City had been rid of could cause revealing too much.)
Having promised his father not to enter Martial Soul Hall, this wasn’t an option for Tang San. Tang San had suggested Xiao Wu go and asked Yu Xiao Gang to try help her get in, but Xiao Wu won’t go anywhere Tang San isn’t going. This leaves the Seven Clans which didn’t appeal. As Yu Xiao Gang reveals, joining them meant life-time service with no choice of leaving. What’s more, outsiders have no chance of making a name for themselves as outsiders are squeezed out by their own Soul Masters.
After rejecting both of these, Yu Xiao Gang suggests a third option: Shi Lan Ke School located in Suo Tuo City which is one of two mentioned cities belonging to the Tian Dou Empire. The school has a nickname of Devil’s School for their intake of exceptionally powerful group of students and views everyone as equals regardless of status or the secrets one has. It’s unclear why Yu Xiao Gang didn’t simply mention this school first, but it’s the school they settle on and agree to set off towards in the morning.
With this decided, Tang San makes a move to kowtow before Yu Xiao Gang to recognise him as his only master. Yu Xiao Gang goes to stop Tang San, believing he is unworthy to be his master. He and Tang San both have two Soul Rings and envision that Tang San will soon surpass him. He believes that Tang San needs a master who is stronger than him and with greater resources in order to reach his goal of becoming the strongest Soul Master there is. He didn’t want Tang San to thoughtlessly perform this very important rite of apprenticeship.
Tang San wasn’t thoughtlessly performing the rite or thoughtlessly choosing Yu Xiao Gang as his master. Expressing the reasons he’s choosing Yu Xiao Gang, Tang San tells him it was he who gave him the confidence, told him the Blue Silver Plant wasn’t a useless Martial Soul and it was he who had accompanied him to obtain his first Soul Ring at Soul Hunting Forest. Not only that, Yu Xiao Gang had risked his own life to save him multiple times. Yu Xiao Gang had used his own body to block the Thorn Apple Snake’s attack; with the Haunted Vine he saved him yet again. Yu Xiao Gang didn’t run away when he could have done so. Yu Xiao Gang is knowledgeable, too. But most importantly his father trusts Yu Xiao Gang.
A strong master with great resources is not what he values Tang San tells him. Trust and respectability seemingly is what he values and in his eyes, Yu Xiao Gang is the most trusted and respectable master. With that said and with Yu Xiao Gang unable to find anything else to stop Tang San, he falls on his knees and lowers his head three times to kowtow to Yu Xiao Gang, recognising Yu Xiao Gang as his only master.
At Rose Inn the next morning, Tang San and Xiao Wu look to enroll at Shi Lan Ke School. It’s a strange location to begin the process of enrollment, but according to Yu Xiao Gang, Shi Lan Ke School has no fixed location. The admission exam they need to take is also different every time. What’s also quite different is that Shi Lan Ke School has a 50 Gold Soul Coin admission fee, but even this appears to be not fixed.
Sent into the inn with 1 Gold Soul Coin and some smaller pieces, they were well short on the 50 Gold Soul Coin admission fee. Hearing that they didn’t have the money, the headmaster at the front of the inn, Fei Lan De (Qiu Xin Zhi), was willing to make an exception for them and lower the fee to seven or eight Gold Soul Coins. Seeing Tang San and Xiao Wu unable to offer this and decide to leave, Fei Lan De had supposed Rose Inn staff member, Ou Si Ke (Liu Run Nan), chase after them to accept what they had. Ou Si Ke had claimed that being kindhearted was the most important. As he was saying this, he was pulling at the pouch in Tang San’s grip as if Shi Lan Ke School was in need of money which they will adjust the amount based on how much prospective students have.
Before Tang San and Xiao Wu are brought to the inn’s backyard to take the admission exam, we are introduced to a few more new characters. The first is a prospective student who was seen with Martial Soul Hall’s Su Yun Tao. She entered the inn alone so there was no reunion between Tang San and Su Yun Tao. This student’s name isn’t mentioned but she will later be revealed to be Hu Lie Na (Huang Can Can).
The second is a woman who we will find out in later episodes to be Zhu Zhu Qing (Liu Mei Tong). She doesn’t have intentions to become a student of Shi Lan Ke School at this point. She only entered the inn because she wanted to duel Dai Mu Bai (Gao Tai Yu) who is a student. She’s convinced by Ou Si Ke to pay the 50 Gold Soul Coins to get past the entrance to fight Dai Mu Bai. He was originally at the front of the inn, but had gone to the backyard after Fei Lan De told them they couldn’t fight at the front of the inn where they could break things and was told to go to the backyard. She never ends up getting this duel with Dai Mu Bai as by the time she gets to the backyard, Dai Mu Bai was nowhere to be found. She’s convinced by Ou Si Ke to stay the night, get a good rest and duel him the next morning.
In Ou Si Ke’s rush to stop Zhu Zhu Qing from heading to the backyard without paying, Ou Si Ke had knocked over a gold-coloured tabular crystal from a table which catches Tang San’s eyes. It sees Fei Lan De initially regard it as a worthless piece of crystal full of impurities which he thought no one wanted until he found Tang San wanting it. To Tang San, it’s because of the crystal’s impurity he wants it. It made great smelting material.
Seeing Tang San wanting it so much, Fei Lan De had put a 10 Gold Soul Coin price on it. It went up to 30 Gold Soul Coins when Xiao Wu offered a high quality herbal medicine. The valuable offer which Fei Lan De valued at 20 Gold Soul Coins saw Fei Lan De change the price of the crystal for a third time. Claiming he forgot what the crystal is actually worth, he increased it to 50 Gold Soul Coins.
Realising that Fei Lan De was just randomly increasing the price because they wanted the crystal, Tang San takes back the herbal medicine and leaves the crystal. It has Fei Lan De hold them back to ask Tang San why he wanted the crystal. Tang San answered honestly: it was (as already mentioned) because it made good smelting material. Asked how good it was, Tang San responded that it was high quality. This had Fei Lan De give the crystal away to him. The reason? Because Tang San was honest. He didn’t lie in an attempt to get Fei Lan De to lower the price. This whole time Fei Lan De was actually testing Tang San. It was a test which Tang San passed.
Side note: This Star Forest which Fei Lan De mentioned as where the valuable herbal medicine is found was previously mentioned in Episode 4 by Yu Xiao Gang who had mentioned the forest as being where 100,000-year-old Soul Beasts can be found. The fact Xiao Wu has this herbal medicine, it’s meant to have us wondering about Xiao Wu’s background or true identity. It makes her again a bit mysterious. The first time she came off a bit mysterious was when she was able to convince Spotted Cats to transfer their energy to her to allow her to obtain her first Yellow Soul Ring (Episode 5). The second time was when she was seen using her own energy to calm Tang San during his struggle to assimilate his Second Soul Ring (Episode 6). Now, she’s shown with this herbal medicine which appear to be possibly quite hard to get access.
Shown to the room which Tang San and Xiao Wu will stay in the same room (because they paid less than the asking price), just how high the quality of the tabular crystal is is revealed. Borrowing a hammer from Ou Si Ke, Tang San smashes the crystal to get to the small round gold acicular crystals inside. These tiny crystals were what Tang San was after as they made great sharp needle-like weapons which can be thrown or ingested by the enemy and made to expand to create a wound inside with the addition of one’s Soul Power.
Tang San reveals the name of these tiny crystals to be called Dragon’s Beard. Tang San then moves to reveal the source of this knowledge as being from the Xuan Tian Records. Tang San had promised his father that he would never mention the Xuan Tian Records to anyone, but he and Xiao Wu had since decided they would become family to each other.
With Tang San no longer having his father waiting for him at home and Xiao Wu’s parents having passed away long ago, Tang San agreed to make Xiao Wu his sister after her suggestion to become each other’s family. It was a title which had Xiao Wu not 100-percent thrilled. It wasn’t because she wanted to be something else to Tang San (although this could possibly be because she’s too innocent to realise it). It was that she didn’t want to address him as San-ge (Brother San) which she thought would make her sound like a child. This had Tang San tell her she only needed to have in mind that they are family. She can continue to address him as Tang San which had her a lot happier.
With Xiao Wu regarded as family, more about the Xuan Tian Records is revealed to her and thus to us viewers as well. It’s a book where Tang San learned techniques to train his eyes and his dodging. He adds that after getting his Martial Soul, skills he learned became more powerful after mixing them with his Soul Power. He doesn’t understand why this is, though. Also inside the Xuan Tian Records is information on machinery and rare items like the information on Dragon’s Beard.
Night time hits and Tang San and Xiao Wu are faced with a situation which sees a man out on the courtyard calling to all those looking to take the exam to come out. It’s not in a manner resembling a formal call from the teachers, but more a threat from a man with a grudge against Shi Lan Ke School. With no one heeding the call, the man forces Ou Si Ke out of his room and takes him hostage.
Xiao Wu wondering what they should do, Tang San advises against acting for the moment, deciding they wait to see what it is this man wants first.
Ou Si Ke’s attempt to free himself from any association with Shi Lan Ke School by saying he was just Rose Inn staff sees the man shout that he sees no separation: helping Shi Lan Ke School organise the exams is the same as being with them.
Still hesitant to act, Tang San wonders if this is part of the exam. It is an exam, but to make it all appear real, the man who is later revealed as a past teacher at Shi Lan Ke School, Zhao Wu Ji, threatens to kill Ou Si Ke after seeing no one daring to come out.
Ou Si Ke held by the collar, Zhao Wu Ji opens his palm to prepare to kill him. This had Tang San act, leaping high into the air looking to release his Blue Silver Plant. He doesn’t even get close to actually releasing his Martial Soul as an orange energy force from Zhao Wu Ji’s palm forces Tang San back to the ground and sliding backwards on his feet.
Xiao Wu tries to attack with a kick, but finds herself blocked by the wall of orange energy and towards a pillar which she uses to rebound off from before landing on her feet a distance away.
Zhu Zhu Qing enters with an attempt to a charge at Zhao Wu Ji before leaping high into the air and descending fast overhead with the intention to attack with her long purple claws of her Martial Soul—an attack which looks to be called Nether Spikes. She too sees no luck in breaking through Zhao Wu Ji’s block. Although her attacks are no match for Zhao Wu Ji her speed looks to be greater than the eye can see for Zhao Wu Ji’s. She had managed to dodge Zhao Wu Ji’s Supreme Palm (a skill which Zhao Wu Ji looks to have been using which sends out that powerful wall of energy to block or attack) before making a leap over him to the other side to strike. However, this strike was blocked after Zhao Wu Ji misses Zhu Zhu Qing with the first attack.
Zhao Wu Ji is very strong, much stronger than any of the three, and even stronger than Ling Feng, the Soul Honour Tang San and Xiao Wu faced in Episode 6. Just before the attacks began, Zhao Wu Ji released his rings to show two Century Rings (yellow rings signifying kills of Soul Beasts which were 100 years or older) and two Millennium Rings (purple rings signifying kills of Soul Beasts which were 1,000 years or older), totalling four Soul Rings, making Zhao Wu Ji a Soul Sect. This is only about half of the Soul Rings he actually has. Zhao Wu Ji actually has seven Soul Rings, making him a Soul Saint.
Before these seven Soul Rings are made to appear, Tang San, Xiao Wu and Zhu Zhu Qing continue to attack with a combination of three-on-one and two-on-one with little success. Tang San’s use of his Blue Silver Plant to fling barrels at a distance sees Zhao Wu Ji break them without suffering any damage. However, the attack does cause Zhao Wu Ji to lose his grip on Ou Si Ke. It allows Xiao Wu to at least get Ou Si Ke a little further away from Zhao Wu Ji following Zhu Zhu Qing’s attempt to use her impressive speed to charge at Zhao Wu Ji. Zhu Zhu Qing’s attack had failed to penetrate the force of Zhao Wu Ji’s Supreme Palm, but it allowed Xiao Wu’s foot to connect with Zhao Wu Ji’s shin which had Zhao Wu Ji’s attention drop to the ground and Xiao Wu to somersault over Zhao Wu Ji’s shoulder to reach Ou Si Ke to fling him farther away from Zhao Wu Ji.
Tang San and Zhu Zhu Qing tries to go in and simultaneously attack following Xiao Wu’s move, but Zhao Wu Ji’s punch into the ground, creates a force so powerful it sends Tang San, Zhu Zhu Qing and Xiao Wu into the air and flying backwards, crashing into wine pots, the pillar and the fence (respectively). Their momentary incapacitation prevents them from stopping Zhao Wu Ji from reaching Ou Si Ke and strangling him to death.
Ou Si Ke’s supposed killing sees Tang San lecture Zhao Wu Ji about strength not defined by his ability to kill—in fact it only reveals his inability to control himself. The lecture comes right after all the other prospective students run far away from the school after Zhao Wu Ji gives them the chance to disassociate themselves from Shi Lan Ke School, thus separating the weak and scared from the brave and strong.
Another round of attempts to take Zhao Wu Ji down follows. This time round, it sees Tang San and Xiao Wu work together to carry out a surprise attack from Tang San’s Blue Silver Plant. With Xiao Wu blocking Zhao Wu Ji’s view of Tang San, she charges before leaping into the air to send a kick at Zhao Wu Ji’s head. Simultaneously, Tang San shoots his Blue Silver Plant, surprising Zhao Wu Ji as the vine coils around him. However, neither attacks from Tang San or Xiao Wu stick as Zhao Wu Ji easily breaks free of Tang San’s vine while Xiao Wu’s kick is again stopped with a grip around the attacking foot.
The third and fourth set of attacks sees everyone taken down in the end with Xiao Wu losing consciousness after a failed attempt to increase the power of her kick by means of rotation using Tang San’s Blue Silver Plant. The strategy was a good one as Xiao Wu’s kick sent Zhao Wu Ji down into the backyard tiles and sliding backwards, but the powerful wall of energy Xiao Wu is hit with—Zhao Wu Ji’s First Soul Skill called Acala’s Statue—sends Xiao Wu flying back and into Tang San’s catch. An apology from Xiao Wu for making Tang San worry and multiple apologises for not being able to protect her from Tang San had been uttered to Xiao Wu before she fell unconscious in his arms.
Tang San also ends up falling unconscious, but not before a final one on one round between him and Zhao Wu Ji takes place. It sees Tang San no longer using his Martial Soul but the training and techniques from Xuan Tian Records to land attacks which actually brings Zhao Wu Ji to the ground.
Laying Xiao Wu down carefully after taking a powerful wall of energy in the back himself, he vows to avenge Xiao Wu even if it means death for him. Standing up, Tang San’s right palm glows an orange colour (the sign of his use of techniques from Xuan Tian Records). He rushes at Zhao Wu Ji before pulling out his Dragon’s Beard needles to fling three at the opponent. All needles are easily flicked away by Zhao Wu Ji.
Zhao Wu Ji’s Supreme Palm is easily defended with Tang San’s Purple Demon Eyes, as it sees Tang San dodge the force before approaching Zhao Wu Ji at quick speed with a swing at Zhao Wu Ji head. It’s blocked by Zhao Wu Ji’s left palm, though.
Zhao Wu Ji’s use of Supreme Palm again sees Tang San dodge the attack and go low, spinning around to hit with a knuckle at the knee and then chest. Zhao Wu Ji’s attempt to elbow Tang San is a miss and so is the roundhouse kick. Having managed to get in at this close range, Tang San moves to target the chest with a punch, the temple with a knuckle and a palm to the upper back after somersaulting over to stand behind sees Zhao Wu Ji stumbling forward away from Tang San.
Tang San’s concentrated attacks which produce no visible explosion of forces except a bright orange glow in the center of his palm has Zhao Wu Ji stop the fight momentarily to find out from Tang San what technique he’s using that’s allowed Tang San to come up top since using them and Zhao Wu Ji to struggle to get an attack on Tang San.
Tang San doesn’t answer. With the centre of both his hands glowing orange as he went into attack pose, Tang San tells Zhao Wu Ji to go again before leaping high into the air to attack. Zhao Wu Ji calls Gravity Squeeze on Tang San which forces Tang San straight to the floor and held down by this Soul Skill of Zhao Wu Ji’s. Tang San’s unable to beat the force completely, but he still manages to lift himself high enough off the ground to bring out his Second Martial Soul—the Hao Tian Hammer—and fling it at Zhao Wu Ji. The hammer is so powerful it sends Zhao Wu Ji flying across the courtyard after it hits just the side of his face.
Zhao Wu Ji is okay. He’s seen jumping back up, but to defeat Tang San’s single knuckle that had come flying at him again, Zhao Wu Ji is made to bring out his full power, revealing his seven Soul Rings. This time, Zhao Wu Ji blocks Tang San’s knuckle and is able to send Tang San flying across the courtyard. Tang San stays down this time, falling unconscious a distance from where Xiao Wu lay.
In the realm of his Blue Silver Plant, he hears the soft, gentle woman’s voice calling him. It’s that same voice he heard in his dream, the same one which he had wondered whether it belonged to his mother. He’s heard asking who she is as he’s seen frantically looking around for the owner of the voice. He once again doesn’t get his answer as Xiao Wu’s call to him has him wake in Xiao Wu’s arms.
Recovering, Tang San stands to join Xiao Wu and Zhu Zhu Qing to learn Ou Si Ke was just playing playing dead for the admission exam which they are told they’ve all passed. Dai Mu Bai does come out accusing Tang San of cheating and using dirty tricks because he was using fight skills which weren’t Soul Skills (a Martial Soul Battle requires the use of Soul Skills). Zhao Wu Ji sees no issue, though. Rules are they just need to defeat him to pass, which Tang San and the others did. He even compliments Tang San on his potential and willpower. They are freakish, he had said.
Tang San’s skills look to be in true style of students who Yu Xiao Gang had described Shi Lan Ke School students. Exceptionally powerful, so much so they are freakish. Tang San’s freakish skills appear to confound even himself after Xiao Wu asks him how he managed to hurt Zhao Wu Ji. Tang San can only say that it was all out of reflex after he saw Xiao Wu lose consciousness; and that it was possibly a combining of Xuan Tian Strike (a technique which augments his breathing—a technique which was first seen Episode 3 during a demonstration fight with Xiao Chen Yu) and his Martial Soul. Somehow that allowed Tang San to block Zhao Wu Ji’s use of his Martial Soul and subsequently suffer less damage against his Martial Soul. When Tang San tries again to combine Xuan Tian Strike and his Martial Soul together, though, the two forces repels each other. This fact had Tang San wondering how it worked during combat and what exactly Xuan Tian Strike is.
Zhu Zhu Qing finally gets her fight with Dai Mu Bai and finds herself losing. With her going up against Dai Mu Bai’s newly gained third Soul Ring—the purple Millennium Soul Ring—from a Millennium Supreme Tiger, she was completely outmatched. Her strikes were all blocked no matter which direction she came at him or how quickly she dealt her strikes.
The defeat sees Zhu Zhu Qing join Shi Lan Ke School after Ou Si Ke convinces her it would be a good way to ensure she can duel Dai Mu Bai anytime she wants, improve and defeat him. She, Tang San and Xiao Wu then make up a total of three new students of Shi Lan Ke School who made it into this year’s intake; and as they learn after being taken to the school located in a village, they plus Ou Si Ke, Dai Mu Bai and Fei Lan De are all that make up the staff and students of the school.
The school’s current financial situation isn’t all that good. They’re actually poor which explains why Fei Lan De was willing to take any amount of admission fee from Tang San and Xiao Wu when they fell a lot short last episode. It’s also why Ou Si Ke is always taking advantage of any opportunity to extract more Soul Coins from people who can afford it, such as Zhu Zhu Qing who he managed to get another pouch of Gold Soul Coins out of her this episode, claiming it’s for tuition fees.
Enrollment at Shi Lan Ke School is actually free. Fei Lan De revealed this when prospective students Hu Lie Na approached him pointing out the school’s poor financial state in an attempt to use the matter plus another matter to get into the school (more on this later). Fei Lan De had hoped the school could be financed through the Rose Inn. It was the reason Fei Lan De started the inn, but—as Ou Si Ke tells Tang San and Xiao Wu during a tour through the city at the end of the episode—no one visited the inn. It ended up being used to hold the admissions exam each year for one day before it gets shut for the rest of the time.
Shi Lan Ke School had offers of sponsorship from the Seven Clans and other parties, but Fei Lan De had rejected such financial help as he didn’t want the school to be under any parties of power which will impact his student’s freedom to choose their own paths. Fei Lan De saw it as failing his duty to his students if such a thing happened.
Because of Fei Lan De’s insistence on being free from influence, Shi Lan Ke School is the only neutral standing school in all of Douluo Continent. However, presumably because of the School being in such poor financial state, the school is facing possible revoking of its teaching qualifications by the Governor of Suo Tuo City.
And so enter Hu Lie Na, a woman apparently affiliated with Martial Soul Hall, looking to get into the school using the matters of Shi Lan Ke School’s poor financial situation and the school facing closure as the means. What her deal is isn’t revealed at this point, but she’s wanting to join Shi Lan Ke School not because she’s looking to be a student, rather she’s come to the school for Dai Mu Bai. For what reason she’s wanting Dai Mu Bai is unknown. Fei Lan De asking Hu Lie Na whether they are related, Hu Lie Na denies it, but does curiously supply that they could be in the future.
She puts on the table a pouch of money and offers to carry out the audit of the school (presumably to ensure the school passes) as her way of seeing to the matter of the Governor of Suo Tuo City wanting to revoke Shi Lan Ke School’s license. In exchange, she be allowed to enroll. Fei Lan De is hesitant, but does agree to the deal provided Hu Lie Na doesn’t attend lectures and don’t recruit for Martial Soul Hall. He also tells her that Su Yun Tao (who appear to serve as her guard and subordinate instead of what looked to be her superior and who Fei Lan De had sitting in an immobile and frozen state while they discussed this) don’t enter the school. All of these conditions are agreed to by Hu Lie Na.
The presence of Su Yun Tao and Hu Lie Na at Shi Lan Ke School sees Yu Xiao Gang worried. While waiting outside Rose Inn for Tang San and Xiao Wu to see if they could enrol at Shi Lan Ke School last episode, Yu Xiao Gang had worried they were there for Tang San because of the Xiao Chen Yu incident in Nuoding City. Tang San tells him no one came after him. Seeing that there weren’t people from Martial Soul Hall after Tang San has Yu Xiao Gang is relieved. He has Tang San stay cautious nonetheless. Yu Xiao Gang’s concern then moves to when Shi Lan Ke School became affiliated with Martial Soul Hall. Ou Si Ke denies there being an affiliation, but not knowing what was discussed between Fei Lan De and Hu Lie Na, it has Yu Xiao Gang worried.
Su Yun Tao makes quick work regarding getting Shi Lan Ke School their licence to continue to operate. Seemingly not long after Fei Lan De’s agreement to allow Hu Lie Na to join the school in exchange for her help in auditing the school, Su Yun Tao had gone to the City’s Main Office to approve the licence. The sight of Su Yun Tao going into the City Main Office was what had Yu Xiao Gang initially worry that maybe people from Martial Soul Hall was after Tang San for the incident in Nouding City. But with Tang San denying there being people after him, Yu Xiao Gang’s worry shifted to Shi Lan Ke School having joined hands with Martial Soul Hall.
Ou Si Ke had claimed Shi Lan Ke School had no affiliation with Martial Soul Hall, but notices which came out shortly after Su Yun Tao’s approving Shi Lan Ke School’s license suggested otherwise to him. Yu Xiao Gang reveals that the Governor of Suo Tuo City had always wanted to incorporate it into its ranks. With Fei Lan De rejecting time and time again, the decision to revoke the school’s license had already been made. Yet, the outcome turned out to be the opposite of that. This is what had Yu Xiao Gang think Shi Lan Ke School had some kind of affiliation with Martial Soul Hall.
Worried, Yu Xiao Gang makes the decision to give Fei Lan De a visit to find out exactly what the situation is. While doing so, we learn Fei Lan De and Yu Xiao Gang actually know each other. Not only do they know each other, but they have a close friendship. Yu Xiao Gang is addressed by Fei Lan De as “Xiao Gang” and Fei Lan De is addressed by Yu Xiao Gang as “Older Brother”. There’s suggestion that they were part of a team called Golden Iron Triangle.
Moving to the question of Shi Lan Ke School’s affiliation with Martial Soul Hall, Fei Lan De assures Yu Xiao Gang he and his school has no affiliation with Martial Soul Hall or any other powerful parties. He tells Yu Xiao Gang that Hu Lie Na, which Fei Lan De correctly assumes is behind Yu Xiao Gang‘s concerns, was here for Dai Mu Bai.
Although this might be what Hu Lie Na had said, Yu Xiao Gang isn’t put at ease hearing this. Yu Xiao Gang thinks that anyone from Martial Soul Hall shouldn’t have been taken in even if she is only taken in as an observer. Hu Lie Na’s exact identity is unknown and this worries Yu Xiao Gang.
As a defense to Yu Xiao Gang’s remark about Hu Lie Na, Fei Lan De notes the same thing about Tang San. Because their identity is unknown is not a basis for rejection. He can’t reject Hu Lie Na anymore than he can’t reject Tang San. Both their identities are unknown (at least this is the case in Fei Lan De’s view).
Unable to counter this and still having concerns Hu Lie Na could cause trouble for Tang San, Yu Xiao Gang suggest remaining as a teacher and is willing to do it for free, too. As Tang San’s Master and having promised Tang Hao to take care of Tang San, Yu Xiao Gang feels a responsibility to ensure nothing happens to Tang San. It sees Fei Lan De, firstly, remark how Yu Xiao Gang has never worried about anyone in this way before, to which Yu Xiao Gang mentions the above as his reasons; and secondly, ask Yu Xiao Gang who Tang San’s father is. As Yu Xiao Gang had promised Tang Hao to keep his identity a secret from Tang San, Yu Xiao Gang is tight-lipped about revealing this to Fei Lan De.
Having initially claimed not wanting to take advantage of Yu Xiao Gang by having him stay at Shi Lan Ke School and teach for free, Fei Lan De uses the identity of Tang San’s father to turn back on not accepting Yu Xiao Gang’s offer. Provided Yu Xiao Gang takes on the position as a teacher at Shi Lan Ke School, Fei Lan De tells Yu Xiao Gang he will ask no more about Tang San’s father.
Yu Xiao Gang accepting, he is announced as a new teaching staff at Shi Lan Ke School along with Hu Lie Na as an observer. Yu Xiao Gang’s class is met with disinterest from Dai Mu Bai. As well as having learned from Tang San that Yu Xiao Gang only has two Soul Rings (two less than Dai Mu Bai and five less than Fei Lan De thus making him less respectable) and that Yu Xiao Gang’s theories are unproven (despite Tang San being living proof of Yu Xiao Gang’s Theory of Mimicry), Dai Mu Bai in general doesn’t regard theory as all that important in the making a strong Soul Master. It sees him yawn during the lecture while everyone is out with their notebooks taking notes and listening intently.
This attitude sees Fei Lan De do something about it via a team mission relating to a report from a businessman of having come across something strange on his journeys. In a village called Nightfire Village, a burned down house stands. Only the house is burnt. Everything surrounding it, things like the grass and plants, remain green. It was something which Tang San noticed the moment he and the others were left to investigate it. Another thing which Tang San noticed is how only chickens roamed the streets and how clean the grounds were. Typically animals likes ducks and dogs roam the streets. The grounds should not be so clean.
Dai Mu Bai’s investigation into the burnt house as well as the black monster the businessman reported seeing sees the Village Head deny the fire being anything out of the ordinary or there being such a monster. When Tang San questioned the Village Head about the scorched house and whether he was there when the house was on fire, the Village Head tells him he was asleep when it happened. By the time he got to the house located at the village entrance, the fire was already out.
Tang San goes on to mention his observation about the fire being contained to the house with surrounding plants escaping the scorching. Asking the Village Head whether he had noticed this and how the fire burned in a way that appeared as if something in the house had purposely prevented the fire from spreading further than just the house, the Village Head remarked that Tang San had quite an imagination.
The Village Head had tried hard to explain away the strange way the fire burned as it having been put out in time. He had tried hard to put Tang San’s observations down to an overactive imagination. It doesn’t escape Tang San’s observation that the Village Head was trying hard to brush them off so they’d leave him and stop their investigations.
With the team mission being set as an exam and grades being dependent on the outcome of their efforts, they couldn’t afford to have their investigations stopped. But the Village Head was getting irritated with the persisting questions at this point. This has Tang San make the decision to help the Village Head explain it away by saying the businessman must have been mistaken. Tang San’s hope is to let the Village Head ease his mind with thinking they won’t be investigating the matter further, but will in actual fact continue investigating by asking around the village to find their answers before confronting him later.
Tang San’s action sees Dai Mu Bai confront Tang San about it. Not only did Tang San make the decision on his own to stop the questions, but in order to stop the questioning, Tang San had to interrupt Dai Mu Bai (which probably came off as quite rude and was wrote frustrating for Dai Mu Bai). Two times Dai Mu Bai had tried to continue asking questions and two times Tang San deliberately interrupted him.
Dai Mu Bai had taken upon himself to assign himself as the leader of this team mission. He was not pleased by Tang San’s interruptions or that he’d gone and made the decision on his own to end the questioning like that. After Tang San explained his reasons for his actions—that being the Village Head was clearly not wanting them to investigate the matter and continuing despite this could hinder them from investigating altogether—Dai Mu Bai seems to understand. However, with him being the leader and appreciating some advance notice to avoid things potentially going beyond their control, it gets Tang San a bit of a telling off.
The confrontation between Dai Mu Bai and Tang San sees just a little more tension added between the two. It doesn’t appear to be about Tang San challenging Dai Mu Bai’s authority as leader. It seems to be about who Tang San is and not being able to read him. Ever since the admission exam at Rose Inn, Dai Mu Bai has been particularly wary about Tang San. It was mistaken by Ou Si Ke as having it in for Tang San for no apparent reason, but Dai Mu Bai reveals his not so friendly treatment is because of the black smoke he saw coming from Tang San after he defeated Zhao Wu Ji. Seeing this coupled with not knowing much about Tang San seems to have made Dai Mu Bai not so keen to welcome Tang San with open arms.
This is the complete opposite with the way Ou Si Ke regards Tang San. He seems to feel Tang San and he shares a similar background—if not similar background then similar values—and has decided to be the one to protect Tang San at Shi Lan Ke School. Tang San can’t see how they share similar background or values, but Ou Si Ke seems to think they do because of the admiration and high regard they both have for their teacher/foster father. Because Tang San had expressed understanding the way Ou Si Ke admired Fei Lan De (who’s Ou Si Ke’s foster father as well as the one who taught him how to use his Martial Soul) as similar to the way Tang San admired Yu Xiao Gang as his teacher, Ou Si Ke drew the conclusion he and Tang San had similar backgrounds—at least in terms of a drama plot kind of way.
Ou Si Ke’s quite a dramatic, over-the-top, comedic kind of character whose dream is in acting and writing scripts. He reveals at the end of episode that he’s staying at Shi Lan Ke School not to train as a Soul Master but because it provides him lots of inspiration for his stories. He singles out Tang San and Xiao Wu as two people who gives him quite a good amount of that inspiration.
Using Xiao Wu as an example, Ou Si Ke explains that Xiao Wu being quite pretty and adorable and the path of a Soul Master being quite a dangerous one, she doesn’t fit the usual mould of someone who would choose to be a Soul Master yet she’s at Shi Lan Ke School. Asking Xiao Wu why she is at Shi Lan Ke School, Xiao Wu reveals that her aim is to understand the essence of the Martial Soul and to explore a new path. This path being to see if a Soul Master can obtain Soul Rings without hunting Soul Beasts.
Ou Si Ke isn’t able to see how it can be possible based on how for thousands of years Soul Rings were obtained by hunting Soul Beasts, but judging by how Xiao Wu was seen in Episode 5 to have managed to obtain her Century Soul Ring from the Spotted Cats by requesting a favour from them, it looks to be a path which is possible.
Returning to the subject of the scorched house and strange sighting of the black monster, Dai Mu Bai lets go the matter of Tang San acting on his own and moves to suggest questioning the villagers as their next heading. It’s a task which they end up not needing to do as Hu Lie Na had apparently gone and done that for them whilst they were speaking to the Village Head.
Hu Lie Na’s investigations looks to have confirmed that not only was the Village Head present whilst the house was burning that night, but the villagers confirms that there is a monster in the village and they want their help with the matter.
Caught out, the Village Head comes out with having seen a black smoky figure with red eyes leaping from the house when the team goes back to confront him about the details Hu Lie Na found out. Asked why the Village Head didn’t investigate the matter thoroughly, the Village Head reveals not having the manpower, resources or money to do it. This is the supposed reason for trying to brush them off earlier. What’s more, the Village Head thought they were there to scam him off of money. (Later episodes will reveal the Village Head’s true intentions.)
With Dai Mu Bai vowing not to take a single cent until they find the culprit, the Village Head is a little more cooperative. Tang San asking if there were any survivors in the house fire and then how old, the Village Head names a young man called Ma Hong Jun whose age is 15. He has a round face and is short.
With this description, Dai Mu Bai, Hu Lie Na and a reluctant Zhu Zhu Qing (she doesn’t like following Dai Mu Bai’s orders) follows Dai Mu Bai to look for this Ma Hong Jun. Tang San (with Xiao Wu and Ou Si Ke) staying behind a little longer, he questions the Village Head further about the number of chickens in the village and whether there were other casualties in the fire.
The Village Head isn’t able to provide an answer about how many chickens there are. As for other casualties in the fire, the Village Head mentions Ma Hong Jun’s father as being one. Asked if Ma Hong Jun’s father had been buried, the Village Head confirms the burial to be at the west side of the village. With Tang San believing Ma Hong Jun will want to visit the grave of his father because he misses him, it appears to suggest the grave as a possible place they might be able to find the young man.
As for Tang San’s focus on the chickens, right now it’s just something which Tang San feels are strange and out of place, future episodes will have Tang San discover to be a loophole in the entity’s/person’s intentions.
The Village Head’s still not being fully cooperative and trying hard to have the Shi Lan Ke School Soul Masters leave his village with no answers. The information about Ma Hong Jun’s father having been buried on the west side of the village sees Tang San and Xiao Wu discover no such grave when they make it there. Deciding they’d head back to the village and ask around, they come up empty on any sightings of Ma Hong Jun.
Hu Lie Na has better luck. Looking around the village on her own, she discovers not only Ma Hong Jun but also the black smoke monster inside an empty hut. With the door only slightly ajar, Hu Lie Na almost walked past it, but what appears to be a feeling or maybe the sight of glowing ashes floating in the empty house that had caught her attention, she was led to take a look inside. By a window in the corridor the black smoke with a fiery core stood. Behind her was Ma Hong Jun huddled by a stud behind her.
Being an observer, she had no interest in Ma Hong Jun, only the black smoke monster and the hay on the ground. She didn’t give chase to Ma Hong Jun when he took off after noticing her. She was curious about the black smoke monster, but he disappeared from her out the window not long after Ma Hong Jun took off.
Hu Lie Na is joined by Tang San and Xiao Wu some time after. She shares with them she’s just discovered something (what she discovered she doesn’t go into detail). She also confirms having seen Ma Hong Jun when Tang San asks, but which way he ran off she can’t tell them (because she honestly doesn’t know since, as mentioned, she didn’t give chase). Although Hu Lie Na is being truthful, stating exactly what she saw, giving nothing more and nothing less, Hu Lie Na also comes off rather dubious at this point.
Down an alleyway ahead of where Zhu Zhu Qing and Dai Mu Bai are is the direction Ma Hong Jun had run off to. Interrupting a moment which saw Zhu Zhu Qing about to get into just exactly why she must fight and win Dai Mu Bai, the two give chase for a time before losing him outside the Village Head’s house.
There’s little success in terms of locating Ma Hong Jun, but it’s not a failed day. Tang San and Xiao Wu’s investigations provided no information on the whereabouts of Ma Hong Jun, but it does lead Tang San to suspect the teenager could be staying at someone’s house. Whilst questioning the villagers, none of them had talked about giving Ma Hong Jun food these last few days which leads Tang San to suspect someone must be caring for him.
In the evening, Tang San’s suspicion is proven correct as the house Ma Hong Jun is staying is revealed to be the Village Head’s house. It explains why none of the villagers have seen Ma Hong Jun show up asking for food because he’s been caring for him; and it explains why Zhu Zhu Qing and Dai Mu Bai’s chase of Ma Hong Jun ended at the Village Head’s house. What Tang San and the others haven’t begun to figure out is why Ma Hong Jun runs away from them every time he sees them or why the black smoke monster continues to linger around the village after the house burnt down.
Another curious action is why the black smoke monster didn’t kill Dai Mu Bai or Hu Lie Na when they had an encounter with it following a discovery of an independent space through a door in a house. Hu Lie Na had discovered this independent space on her own before bringing Dai Mu Bai to the place as a way to learn more about Dai Mu Bai. In exchange for helping him capture the black smoke monster, she wanted to hear about him and Zhu Zhu Qing’s relationship.
It’s a relationship which Dai Mu Bai doesn’t even know he had with her until Zhu Zhu Qing finally reveals it to him. She was his fiancée. Their relationship is one which was formed through a political marriage arrangement which Dai Mu Bai’s tribe had set up between them. Dai Mu Bai appears to know about this political marriage as it’s the reason he left his tribe. He was unwilling to accept this political marriage. However, what he seems to not know is that it’s Zhu Zhu Qing he’s to marry and that he was the one who said that he will only break off the engagement if Zhu Zhu Qing defeats him. What’s more, this engagement never would have been insisted on by his tribe if Dai Mu Bai didn’t kiss her—an act which Dai Mu Bai has no memory of.
All of the above was revealed during an encounter between Dai Mu Bai and Zhu Zhu Qing late at night. It’s an encounter which Hu Lie Na had not witnessed personally, so she wasn’t able to learn about Dai Mu Bai’s exact relationship with Zhu Zhu Qing or its exact details herself. She only learns that Zhu Zhu Qing is Dai Mu Bai’s fiancée through Xiao Wu. (Xiao Wu and Tang San had been listening to Dai Mu Bai and Zhu Zhu Qing a distance away after their voices caught Xiao Wu’s ears). Wanting to know more about this subject as well as more about Dai Mu Bai himself (why the interest is not revealed), Hu Lie Na offered to show Dai Mu Bai the place she had chased the black smoke monster into in exchange for information about him and Zhu Zhu Qing.
Walking through the door, Dai Mu Bai and Hu Lie Na enter a place which look very similar to Nightfire Village. Where it’s night time in Nightfire Village, this independent space looks to be in the early hours of the morning. Dai Mu Bai believes it to be created by a Space Branch Martial Soul. Whether it’s created by a Soul Beast or a Space Branch Soul Master he isn’t sure. This is the answer they want to find out by locating the black smoke monster.
As they look to search for this black smoke monster, it appears before them on its own. The fight which ensues isn’t shown as a scene but through Dai Mu Bai’s account the following day when he recovers from this fight between him and the black smoke monster. It’s a fight which sees the black smoke monster make quick work of at least Dai Mu Bai.
Hu Lie Na had gone in to attack first, but she is sent flying into some wood planks leaning against a stone wall. She remains conscious and in the end appears to be the one who lured the black smoke monster away from them.
Dai Mu Bai, though, his attempt to attack it sees him end up unconscious. Dai Mu Bai had managed to avoid the black smoke monster’s first attack—a fireball being aimed at him—but failed to avoid a second fireball. It saw Dai Mu Bai suffer a very strong hit to the chest which propelled him into a wood pole and ultimately blacked out.
With Tang San and Xiao Wu having followed Dai Mu Bai and Hu Lie Na (Tang San had worried that Dai Mu Bai’s insistence that he’d be enough to handle the black smoke monster himself could cause him to get into some trouble), it’s Tang San who comes to take the unconscious Dai Mu Bai back to the village to recover.
To keep us guessing whether Hu Lie Na is on the good side or bad side and what her motives really are, a discrepancy between Hu Lie Na’s description of the black smoke monster and Dai Mu Bai’s description is presented. When Tang San found Dai Mu Bai, Hu Lie Na was nowhere near him. She had appeared shortly after claiming to have lured the black smoke monster away, but she lies about having fought it. Tang San’s attention to her injured hand saw Hu Lie Na explain it as being because the black smoke monster had flames on its body. But this claim is contradicted by Dai Mu Bai the next morning. When Tang San questions Dai Mu Bai on this, he straight out says no; it didn’t have flames on its body. The difference between Hu Lie Na’s account and Dai Mu Bai’s account comes off curious if not suspicious.
Tang San clearly found the answers odd. It was also obvious that before Tang San asked Dai Mu Bai the question, he had already deemed Hu Lie Na’s claim the black smoke monster had flames suspicious. Had he not deemed it such, he wouldn’t have specifically posed this question to Dai Mu Bai.
Another bit of mystery is the presence of a lone chicken inside the building leading to the independent space. Preceded by Tang San’s observation that outside of the building lacked chickens, Xiao Wu was the one to notice this lone chicken inside the building. (Tang San’s focus on chickens last episode and again this episode appears to have spread to her now!) Seeing the chicken, she commented how it appeared to be monitoring them. She is on to something because shortly after her comment the chicken reacted like it had been caught and is guilty: it tripped over its own step before it quickly ducked through a small crack through the wall.
The next morning, finding Ma Hong Jun continues to be their focus. It seems that in finding him, they could possibly be led to the black smoke monster which they suspect could be after the Village Head. This suspicion is based on Hu Lie Na’s sighting of the black smoke monster showing up near Ma Hong Jun in the burnt house during the day yesterday and again following the Village Head after it was revealed he was caring for Ma Hong Jun during the night (this is when she chased the black smoke monster and discovered the independent space). Ou Si Ke makes a suggestion that maybe the black smoke monster was still lurking around the village because it was waiting for another chance to kill Ma Hong Jun. It’s a thought which Tang San agrees is possible.
What’s also possible is that the black smoke monster is Ma Hong Jun’s father. During the scene which sees Ma Hong Jun revealed as living with the Village Head, Ma Hong Jun is heard telling the Village Head that the reason for heading out when he shouldn’t—at least not whilst the Shi Lan Ke School Soul Masters are in the village the Village Head says—was that he wanted to see his father. The Village Head was also heard telling Ma Hong Jun his father is no longer human.
Having had Xiao Wu and Hu Lie Na trick the Village Head out of his house on the claim that they’ve found the black smoke monster, Tang San and the others look to find Ma Hong Jun at the Village Head’s house. Tang San had come to suspect Ma Hong Jun is likely at the Village Head’s house after a look in the kitchen saw Tang San notice an extra set of dishes in the set of dirty dinner dishes.
They find him. Looking around, Zhu Zhu Qing finds Ma Hong Jun huddled in the kitchen area.
Ma Hong Jun found, Tang San and Dai Mu Bai move to try and conclude whether the black smoke monster is a Soul Beast or Soul Master. Dai Mu Bai providing that it was a human form, it sees Tang San deem it a Soul Master.
That’s Douluo Continent Series Recap, Episodes 6 – 10! Make sure to come back for Douluo Continent Series Recap, Episodes 11 – 15!